How Long Does It Take to Get a Headstone?

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Losing a loved one is a highly emotional event, and the grieving process looks different for each individual.

For many people, they feel they can begin to fully process their grief once there is a completed headstone on the grave. This gives them a place to visit when they’re needing to feel close to the departed person, and that headstone is a tangible reminder.

Because the headstone serves as such a lasting symbol for many families, we often get asked how long it takes to get a headstone fully completed and installed at a grave site.

The answer to this question is it depends. Typically, we can project that the average headstone will take from between one and six months from the time an order is taken to be completed and installed.

Why such a broad range of time? There are several variables when it comes to choosing and completing a memorial, and the amount of time each step takes depends on both the family and the memorial company.

Here are some things that can impact the amount of time it takes before a memorial is completed:


The design of a gravestone is a big factor in how long it takes for the memorial to be completed and installed.

If you select a smaller, less ornate stone in a commonly available material, it’s likely that the design and creation process is going to take less time than is a larger, more intricate memorial that requires a special-order material.

When choosing the material for a headstone, understand that, while you may be able to get nearly any color of granite, all those colors may not be in stock at any given time. If you opt for a color of stone that’s less in-demand with your monument company, they will have to special order the color you want, which can add weeks or even months to the timeline.

Additionally, the size, finish, color and overall design of the stone that you select plays a big part in how long it takes to craft the memorial.

A more simple, grass-level or upright memorial isn’t going to require a ton of time to engrave, unless you’re selecting a highly specialized, intricate design.

If you’ve selected a stone that’s carved into a unique shape as well as being engraved, the headstone will take longer to craft and that increases the time required to fully finish the stone.

Payment & Approval

Because headstones cost a lot of money – and they are charged with a lot of emotional connection for people – there is a specific process that must be completed before the memorial company is ready to finalize and install the stone.

The longer it takes for the family to provide the necessary payment, including any down payments or final payments, the longer the memorial company waits to put the stone into production or to install it. If you’re able to pay fully for the stone initially, or at least half down of the total during the design process, the faster the company will be able to get to the production phase.

Additionally, memorial companies require the signatures of a person who is designated with making decisions before a stone can be put into production.

If it takes this person longer to respond to the memorial company, or the design must go through several adjustments before it’s approved, it will take longer for the stone to be completed and ready to install.

The final piece of the approval process is getting the go-ahead from the cemetery to install the memorial.

Many cemeteries require permits or approval for all new memorials, and this requires a signature from the individual responsible for making decisions for the deceased person’s estate. Once this permit is requested, it can take several weeks for the cemetery to give its approval and allow the memorial company to order the stone.

Tips for Making the Memorial Marker Process Move Smoothly

While it can seem as if the process for getting a memorial created and installed can be lengthy and frustrating, there are some things that you can do to help make the process faster:

  • Pay in full and approve the design in a timely manner. The more quickly you pay the memorial company and give them the go-ahead, the faster the stone can go into production.
  • Get the cemetery’s approval. Find out just what sort of approval is needed from the cemetery, and get the process started as quickly as possible since some cemeteries can take several weeks to respond to requests.
  • Be realistic. Wanting a unique memorial for your loved one is natural, but the more intricate the design, the longer production will take. Be realistic about the timeline for completion of your memorial depending on how complex a memorial you’ve chosen.
  • Find something in-stock. That unique granite color may look great, but it can add weeks or months to the production time. If you’re anxious to get the memorial installed as soon as possible, consider changing the color that the memorial company has in stock.
  • Work in the off-season. Like many other businesses, memorial companies have a busy season and a less busy season. Typically, memorial companies are a little less busy during the winter, and may be able to put your loved one’s stone into production faster.
  • Work with a local company. The closer the memorial company is to the cemetery where the stone is to be installed, the more likely they are to know the specific rules and requirements of the cemetery. This knowledge can help the process go faster and get the stone installed more quickly.

Memorial Markers in Maryland

Whether you want your loved one memorialized by a simple headstone or an intricately carved stone, the team at Merkle Monuments can help. We offer a wide range of high-quality headstones and memorial markers, giving families a beautiful reminder of their loved ones. Start your project today.